Wedding photography - absolute noob needs advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Marlat, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Marlat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #1
    Hi everyone!

    I got a big problem at hand. In two months a good buddy of mine is going to get married and asked me if I could shoot some nice pics for him. He knows that I have a nice camera and do relativitly (sp?) good pictures.

    But a wedding is a whole different thing for me. Most of the time I shoot party pictures or still life in fairly decent light.

    And now you guys & gals come into play.

    I currently have a Pentax K10D, the 18-55mm kit lens, a 50mm F1.4 lens, some memorycards, two batteries. I'm going to buy a tele lens and a flash - which one I don't know exactly.
    The lens I was looking at was the Sigma 70-200 EX HSM one, because of the silent focusing. An alternative would be the Pentax DA* 50-135, but I have the feeling I might be lacking some outreach. Has anybody a hint for me?
    As for the flash, I'm totally dumb. Normally I would crank the ISO setting up to 640 and use my 50mm lens - so any help there would be neat too. Possible choices are the Pentax 540, Sigma 530 Super oder the Metz 58 AF.

    Budgetwise I'm pending around 1k euro for both items and other stuff like baggage.

    I feel quite honored that he wants me to accompany the paid shooter, but I'm also afraid I might not be up to the task.

    Any proficient wedding photogs here who are willing to help me?
    I'm really looking forward for any insight or tips.
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #2
    I'm not sure what the customs are in Europe, but in the US, I would follow some common sense.

    1. Make sure the pro-photographer is OK with this set-up. Have your buddy talk it over with the pro.

    2. Don't get in the way of the pro. There are going to be shots that the pro is required to take. Don't get in the way and don't screw up the pro's lighting.

    3. Check with your buddy to see what he expects from you. I'm sure you want to do the best you can, but get a sense of what he expects from you. After you know what he wants, you can get the lenses you want (or don't buy anything at all). Personally, I wouldn't buy a lens specifically for this wedding if I didn't already want that lens in the first place. In other words, don't buy any lens/flash/etc just for the wedding.

    Good luck!

    BTW - I'm not a pro or anything, but I've been to many weddings (including my own). I once got "yelled" at by the pro because I left the AF-assist lamp on and was screwing up her shots.
     
  3. Marlat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    Thank you. Point 1 and 2 were something I thought of myself already. If I screw his pictures up, I'll hear from the couple for the rest of my lifetime that I ruined there wedding - and well, I'm not that of a masochist ;)

    You are also absolutely right about point 3. But I want a tele lens anyway, so I will buy it nonetheless. But for the flash gun, I don't know. Ah well, I guess I have to throw a coin on this one.
     
  4. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #4
    Maybe let the pro do all the 'bread & butter' shots... while you get the pix he won't take: the funny, off-beat, informal moments during the day. Less pressure on you, too...
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    I'm almost certain the professional photographer will simply ask you to leave. Or at least to leave the area where he is working.

    Most of them are happy if you do your shots AFTER he is done but will not be happy at all if you follow him around and he will be very upset if you try and re-shoot his set-ups.

    What you CAN do is shoot the shoots the pro would not shoot. Use yor 50mm or even a wider lens and capture things that you normally would do. Like those party shots and still life of details in the church. But don't try and do the pro'd job. The couple will by very busy and not have time to multiple setups of the same shots.

    Above all do NOT ask any of your subjects to do anything or pose or take even a minute of their time. Shoot as iif you are a photo journalist covering the event. Photographers tend to use a lot of the wedding couple's time. Do't add to that. Stand in the background and and keep out of the way. Shoot candid pictures of other guests. in 20 years those photos will be the best ones.
     
  6. Marlat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #6
    Good idea. Hmm, maybe this won't be as hard as I thought.
    Of course they will still hope to get some decent ones from me. :) But leaving the pro do his work might be what I was looking for.

    I had the impression from my buddy, that he wants me to cover the whole wedding. Guess I have to speak a little bit with him - when he's not too busy getting the catholic church to do his wedding :D
     
  7. GuyNextDoor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #7
    I shot photos for my sisters wedding, years ago (35mm) and I agree with ftaok's points.

    I'd especially avoid being around the pro, snapping the same shots he is - he'll get annoyed and nothing you do will likely match his. He's trying to make a living here and doesn't need you underfoot.

    I'd suggest concentrating on getting candids of the guests, especially shots that the pro is too busy to consider. He's there to be the official record of the event; be the subtext, the informal observer. As an example, while he's snapping the 400th shot of the bride and groom posed at the altar, you get that adorable shot of the flower-girl nodding off in the pew. He's shooting the bride and groom getting into their limo to head for the airport, you're snapping the teary-eyed mother seeing off her baby. That sort of thing.
     
  8. Marlat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #8
    Ok. Man, you have some awesome ideas :) I guess it was the right thing to ask this here ;)
     
  9. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #9
    All of these are great ideas for shots, provided that they occur. The next wedding that I get invited to, these are the shots that I'm going to look for.

    ft
     
  10. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #10
    Depends on photographer. Some are posed portrait style photographer, others document the event.

    Those are the type of photos I shoot when I am covering a wedding. =)

    I don't really have time for guest candids though. Hint.
     
  11. Marlat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #11
    I guess the groom doesn't even know what kind of pro photog he wants (or will be hiring). It's a bit of a mess at the moment - the only thing that's definite is the date of the wedding.
     
  12. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #12
    Back during my wedding, my pro used his Hasselblad for the standard posed wedding shots and such and a 35mm SLR with B/W film for the "photo-journalist" shots.

    It worked out very well ... although now I have 800+ negatives and no time to scan them all.

    ft
     
  13. James L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #13
    My only comment is make sure there IS a pro. Do NOT become the only photographer there. Weddings are one of the toughest gigs to shoot properly, there are no retakes for those special moments, and if something goes wrong it can put a huge strain on your friendship.

    Be the "other" shooter, don't worry about having a list of things to get, and just have fun!
     
  14. Marlat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #14
    Oh, you can bet, I won't be showing up if there is no real pro. I might be good, but I'm not mad enough to risk my friendship.
     
  15. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #15
    If possible, talk to the pro before the wedding, even if it's early the day of the wedding to clarify each other's expectations. When I did this, the pro turned out to be incredibly nice and was even giving me hints and tips throughout the day. He understood I respected him as the pro and there were no issues through the day.

    While I totally agree that you can concentrate on the gravy shots that the pro doesn't have time to consider, don't totally divorce yourself from the main scene either. Don't stand over the pro's shoulder and take the same shots by any means, but a different angle or approach may turn out to be something the bride and groom love. The B&G at one wedding I took pictures at definitely liked some of my pics more than the pro's.
     
  16. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #16
    I agree, definitely don't do that! I got wrangled into shooting a small ceremony a few years ago as a favor to my wife basically with last minute's notice because the pro cancelled on the couple. I was visiting, had none of my equiptment, and got stuck borrowing stuff. And I'm not a pro!! Don't do it, not for the sake of the group, but for that fact you may wish you could have done better. I know I could have!
     
  17. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #17
    Yeah that's why I stopped doing film.
    Have not shoot with the Hasselblad in years.
     
  18. theblueone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    #18
    If I were in your position, maybe I'd try to lower the B&G's expectations a little beforehand. Maybe even re-label yourself as "guest who's bringing his camera" instead of second photographer. I say this because I've had similar arrangments go pretty badly before. The worst was when one of the more-than -a-little-inebriated cousins/bridesmades insisted that the paid photographer stop between each of his poses so that I, "the other photographer" could take the same shot. Of course, this didn't happen, and you could see it in the pro's pictures on the face of the pissed-off cousin.

    The best, by far, was when I told my friends, "sorry, I won't act in any way close to an official capacity, but I'll certainly bring my camera and get as many great shots as I come across.". I just flew under the radar and I didn't even take my camera out of the bag for the ceremony. I did get a ton of memorable shots of the nervous groom beforehand, and a bunch of the celebration at the reception.

    With this kind of arrangement, my friends got more bang for their buck from their paid photographer since she could more comfortably pose and compose her shots, I got to relax and enjoy the wedding more, and the B&G got two entirely different sets of great photos.
     
  19. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #19
    where's the wedding going to be? lighting conditions? you may need to buy/rent a faster standard zoom, or even another prime or two. i'm not a wedding photographer, but i'm not so sure of the usefulness of a flash that isn't off-camera.
     
  20. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #20
    Definitely get a recent Pentax Flash. (AF-360FGZ or AF-540FGZ only)

    Your K10D supports wireless external flash mode (you'll need to download K10D firmware 1.3).

    Hold the flash off to different angles you get really good results.
    Much better results than if you mount the flash on the hot shoe, your photos will be in a whole different league.


    This can be done comfortably holding the flash in one hand, stretched out the side and the camera in the other.


    You can get cords for other flashes, but the convenience of a wireless flash means you can push the limits further, eg laying the flash on a table with a group sitting around it, and you shooting from a distance…
     
  21. rouxeny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #21
    I think people have posted some very good points here. I was the "friend with a camera" at a recent wedding and I wasn't as crass as to follow the pro shooter around, but I think I may have been more intrusive than I should have been. Looking at my shots, there are definitely a few where their flash is visible in my shot, so presumably he must have had a few where mine ruined his shot. Were I to do it again now, I would be a bit more discrete and really let him try to do his job.

    There are a lot of other opportunities to take fun wedding shots. I used a fisheye and had a few keepers and I thought that my interactions with the guests were a bit more natural than the pro's.

    Good luck, try not to stress too much!
     
  22. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #22
    I would suggest against the flashgun. They're intrusive pretty much no matter what, especially with a pro wandering around. (That's my style though. I own one, but don't like using it because it seems to promote stiffness in images.)

    But if you go for it, I suggest a good, sturdy, and comfortable bracket. You'll quickly tire of holding the flash up at odd angles, but previous posters have been totally correct in saying that leaving it on the hotshoe is a bad, bad idea. Don't forget the ttl cord.
     
  23. oblomow macrumors 68020

    oblomow

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #23
    I think it depends on what the couple expects, formal photo's or just a registration of the event. I was asked last year by friends to shoot their wedding. They knew what to expect of my wedding photography quality..... (it was my first). The wedding itself was a small ceremony with a party afterwards. There was no professional photographer.
    My advice is: if you do it, make sure you 3 all know what the expected result will be. And during the ceremony, be up there with the couple. You have been asked to shoot, so better (without being too intrusive) make sure you can make closeups of the rings beings handed over, the signing of the registration ( couple, witnesses). Oh, and get photo's of all the people in the audience. It would be a shame to have missed beloved aunt this or old friend so that travelled the world to attend the wedding. (if you don't recognize them, since you're a friend, it doesn't mean their presence is not important for the couple.)
    Oh and if it's an indoor event, I would prefer to shoot high ISO instead of using a flash all the time. So if possible check out the locations before the event.
     
  24. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Location:
    Thame, Oxfordshire, England
    #24
    At my sisters wedding back in January this year I took my camera along, I didn't get it out during the ceremony but I did take loads of shots afterwards. The Pro was useless, the shots she presented a couple of weeks later are not particuarly great. At one point during the shooting she even turned to me and said "I ought to follow you, you've got some great ideas".

    I have also been an official photographer at a wedding and trust me it's a nerve wracking experience. It is not something that I would want to do again in a hurry but I am this September.

    The best advice I can give is take loads of memory cards. Work out how many you will need and then double it. You cannot take too many pictures. Also take spare batteries. If you can find somewhere at the reception venue to plug in your charger and keep a spare on charge then great. Do not ever delete a photo until you have backed them up on the computer at home. It is too easy on most cameras to accidently hit the delete all instead of delete this one button. If you don't already, learn your camera, learn everything you can about it, where every button is and what it does. Idea being that you can then adjust things like aperture and shutter speed whilst still looking through the viewfinder and you can do it quickly. That way you are less likely to miss the decisive moment.

    Most of all though, enjoy it and have fun. It WILL make you a better photographer.
     
  25. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #25
    Awesome advices here! It seems MR has a great photog community. Bookmarked post!
     

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